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Movie Recommendation: Sleepwalk With Me

Last week, after much nagging, pleading, begging, Puss-in-Boots eyes, I gave in to Brook at took her to see Mike Birbiglia’s first film debut, Sleepwalk With Me.  The film was produced in collaboration with Ira Glass of This American Life.  It’s about how Mike’s fear of commitment turned into a sleep disorder*.  If you’re a regular listener of This American Life, you’re probably already familiar with Mike’s story and I’m not going to spoil it for the rest of you.

The film had a problem getting into theaters.  It’s an independent film and didn’t have the kind of distribution system that would get it a lot of publicity.  So Ira called on his listeners to pester theaters in their local area to pick it up.  Brook did her part.  She contacted theaters in the area but they weren’t interested.  Last week, it was playing at 45 theaters nationwide and the only one in NJ was in Montclair, about 45 miles from here.  If you are familiar with Central NJ, you will understand why I didn’t want to drive 45 miles on a dark and rainy night to see a movie by some novice director.

But it turned out to be pretty good.  There are some genuinely hilarious moments but also some touching ones.  It’s sweet.  You can take the whole family.  There wasn’t any gratuitous swearing or nudity, and what goes on in the bedroom scenes isn’t sexy.  Carol Kane is in it, which for me, is one of the main reasons to go.  If you remember her portrayal of Simka Gravis from Taxi you’ll remember why she’s so funny.  But all of the performances are pretty good.  There are several regulars from the DailyShow.  You’ll sympathize with Lauren Ambrose who plays Mike’s girlfriend Abby.

So, anyway, last week, the whining was incessant.  Brook HAD to see this movie.  This American Life is a bit of a cult thing with her and her friends.  I looked up the reviews and they were pretty favorable.  Roger Ebert says Birbiglia could be the next Woody Allen.  I tried to reason with her that if it was really that good it would get picked up by other theaters.  But she made it sound like if it didn’t take her, it would be MY fault that it was a commercial failure and would have to wait for it to be released on video.  What the heck, it’s only my one and only car and I’m lousy driving at night, in the rain, 45 miles on Rt287 to Montclair where I’ve never been before.  What could go wrong?  Thankfully, nothing.  I liked it.

It looks like other people liked it too because it has now been picked up by 125 theaters nationwide, including 2 that are 10 miles from our house.    Check the This American Life website for a list of theaters nationwide.

No, don’t thank me, Mike and Ira.  The kid is a just an obsessed fangirl but the movie is surprisingly good for filmmakers who didn’t know what the heck they were doing.  And good luck with the next film. Someone should really do a movie based on David Sedaris’ book Naked.  {{hint, hint}}

Here’s the trailer:

* I used to have sleep problems too when I was in my twenties.  Lots of night terrors, sleepwalking and sleeptalking.  On one occasion, I saw some dark thing climb out of a vase of roses, jumped out of my bed screaming, and pulled the door of my room open without moving my foot out of the way.  Yep, ripped my toenails right off.  Not recommended.  Now, I just sleep with the light on.  True story.

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